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Airline Performance in 2023 – Winners and Losers

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Airline Performance in 2023 – Winners and Losers

The airline industry suffered arguably its worst two years during 2021 and 2022. The pandemic can explain many critiques, but there was a lot of self-inflicted harm to go around. US carriers were no different, but a 2023 audit revealed a sharp reduction in cancellations and much improved on-time arrivals. Nagging concerns such as passenger complaints, tarmac delays, and baggage handling remain, but the rebound from 21/22 was laudable. 

The Wall Street Journal revealed its 16th annual airline scorecard, examining the overall performance of the largest US airlines. Numbers one and two remained constant compared to 2022 and 2021, but from there, quite a few carriers moved up and down the rankings in 2023.

Delta Air Lines

For the third consecutive year, Delta placed number one. Over the last seven years, the Atlanta-based airline has secured the leader position a remarkable six times. Delta placed no worse than fifth among the seven equally weighted operations metrics and was exemplary in a handful. Their best on-time arrival rate was notable, and Delta registered the lowest complaint rate. 

One of the strategies that has consistently worked well for Delta is offering generous perks to customers who voluntarily switch flights due to overbooking. The volunteer walks away with a perk, and the flight takes off on time despite the overbooking. The one area that can improve with Delta, however, is cancelations. 

Alaska Airlines

Coming in number two was Alaska Airlines. The Washington carrier scored on par with Delta except for mishandled baggage and involuntary bumping. Alaska scored 3 and 4 points below Delta in both categories, respectively. Alaska battles Delta for West Coast passengers and finished with the lowest cancelation rate, something passengers certainly value and the same area Delta struggled with. Alaska spokespeople indicated the airline is introducing new baggage-tracking processes that, believe it or not, are replacing pen and paper in some airports.

Bottom Dwellers

Southwest Airlines had a miserable 2022 and early 2023. Unhappy customers went to social media to express “holiday travel from hell,” which predictably affected the airline’s bottom line. 

In 2022 alone, Southwest went from the fewest to the third most complaints in under 12 months.  

While Southwest struggled, Frontier really underperformed. Per 100,000 passengers, Frontier averaged 38.5 complaints, an unreal four times the average rate of the major airlines. Fares were the principal complaint, followed by flight problems and refund snafus. 

Lastly, Jetblue finished last in on-time arrivals, delays longer than 45 minutes, canceled flights, and tarmac delays. The airline launched a reliability campaign in 2023 and only canceled 1.8% of flights compared to 3.3% in 2022. Positive news, but Jetblue serves a demanding East Coast client base with little patience for errors.  

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CheapOair Unveils Top 10 Air Travel Destinations for Americans in 2023

As the holiday season approaches, CheapOair’s data science team delves into the travel trends of Americans, revealing the top destinations for air travel in 2023. With over 115 million people expected to travel 50 miles or more, a record-breaking 6.5%, or 7.5 million individuals, are set to take flight during the 10-day festive period, according to the American Automobile Association.

New York City – A Global Expedition:

New Yorkers, known for their diverse preferences, are jetting off to a mix of international and domestic destinations. The top 10 holiday travel spots include Santiago, San Salvador, Santo Domingo, Kingston, Lagos, Delhi, and Manila, alongside domestic escapes to Georgetown, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando.

Los Angeles – Embracing Global Vibes:

Angelenos are embracing an international flair with 6 out of their top 10 destinations located abroad. Guadalajara, San Salvador, Manila, Guatemala City, Mexico City, and Ho Chi Min City make the global cut, while domestic getaways include Atlanta, New York City, Dallas, and Houston.

Chicago – A Blend of Domestic and International Escapes:

Chicagoans are favoring domestic destinations for their holiday plans, with Phoenix, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas on their list. However, they’re also venturing internationally to Mexico City, Guatemala, San Juan, and Manila.

Houston – Exploring Diverse Horizons:

Houston residents are spreading their wings to international locales like San Salvador, Guadalajara, Mexico City, and San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The domestic front sees trips to Los Angeles, Denver, New York City, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Ft. Lauderdale.

Phoenix – Domestic Delights with a Hint of International Flair:

In the Phoenix area, holiday-goers are opting for domestic travel, with cities like Dallas, Denver, New York City, Seattle, Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Portland topping the list. The lone international destination is Guadalajara.

As the anticipated air travel numbers for this holiday season surpass last year’s figures, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is gearing up to keep flights on schedule. Measures include opening military airspace for east coast north-south traffic, coordinating with commercial space companies to limit launches during peak travel times, and opening 169 additional east coast routes to accommodate increased air traffic.

Standardization Strategy impacting Flower Supply Chain Prepares for Second Trial Phase

Europe’s fourth largest air cargo hub, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol teams up with the Holland Flower Alliance to support efforts surrounding the Ideal Flowerbox initiative. The goal of the initiative is to create a system of standardization and space efficiencies in shipping flowers, benefiting the flower supply chain in the region.

“The shipment of flowers is an important activity at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, so we are very supportive of the Ideal Flowerbox project and we are excited about the initial trial results showing how the box can improve sustainability in the supply chain,” said Roos Bakker, Director Business Development, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

“We actively encourage innovation within the air cargo community, and we believe that collaboration with the HFA partners will continue to yield positive results for all stakeholders involved in the shipment of flowers.”

After a successful first trial run led by Royal FloraHolland’s Senior Consultant Christo van der Meer,  a second phase for the trial period is in the works and could lead to future implementation of the strategy on additional flower routes in 2019.

“The initial trial was very successful with a 15 per cent increase of weight on airline pallets and boxes on the Nairobi to Amsterdam route, which demonstrates the value of collaboration between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, KLM Cargo, and Royal FloraHolland,” said van der Meer.

“The results show that with the use of the Ideal Flowerbox we are able to optimise the aircraft’s load factor, which is beneficial for a sustainable and efficient operation.”

Source: Schiphol